Iqbal was arrested during a drive conducted following a tip-off of an intelligence agency, says RAB Director General Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) claims to have arrested a fugitive convict in the August 21 grenade attack case from the capital’s Diabari area.
According to RAB, the arrestee, Iqbal Hossain alias Jahangir alias Selim, was one of the militants who hurled grenades at the stage of Awami League’s rally on the fateful day of August 2004, obeying orders of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (Huji) chief Mufti Abdul Hannan.
Iqbal, a member of the banned militant outfit Huji, was sentenced to life in prison by a Dhaka court.
At a press conference on Tuesday, RAB Director General Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun said that Iqbal was arrested during a drive conducted following a tip-off of an intelligence agency.
RAB said that Iqbal went to his village house in Jhenaidah and went into hiding subsequently. He chose different occupations like that of a security guard, rickshaw puller, and car mechanic among other things. He then at one point went abroad.
In 2020, he was sent back to Bangladesh as he was illegally residing in that respective country, the RAB chief added.
Iqbal, during primary interrogation, confessed to RAB that after passing HSC he went to Malaysia as an expatriate worker in 1995 and came back to Bangladesh in 1998. He started a small business after returning home.
In 2003, Iqbal got introduced to Huji chief Mufti Hannan and took training from him. In 2004 he came to Dhaka and started taking part in secret meetings of the militant group. Later on August 21, he took part in the grenade attack.
At least 24 people were killed and around 300 injured when grenades were lobbed on the Awami League rally in the capital’s Bangabandhu Avenue on that day.
Incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader in parliament, narrowly escaped the attack with an ear injury.
Overcoming all legal barriers, in a landmark verdict, a Dhaka court on October 10, 2018, awarded capital punishment against 19 people, including former state minister Lutfozzaman Babar and former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, in two cases filed over the heinous attack.
The court also awarded life term imprisonment to 19 people, including BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, BNP chief, and former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s political secretary Harris Chowdhury and former BNP lawmaker Qazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad while 11 others were awarded jail terms of various duration.
Mufti Hannan was executed for his role in the 2004 Shahjalal shrine grenade attack on April 12, 2017.